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Moral panic created to make Malays feel insecure, says Bebas

 | August 20, 2017

Azrul Khalib says moral panic is generated for a particular race to be afraid and suspicious of others, while creating a false sense of dependence on those currently in power.

azrul-panic

Racism, and the politics and policies of race and religion, remain very much alive in the Malaysia of 2017, says Azrul.

PETALING JAYA: Civil rights group Bebas says the creation of moral panic in Malaysia by certain quarters is especially intended to make the Malay-Muslim community feel constantly insecure.

Its spokesman Azrul Khalib said moral panic is artificially generated so that a particular race is afraid and suspicious of people from other faiths and cultures in the belief that the latter are out to corrupt or convert them.

“It creates a false sense of need and dependence on those who are currently in power, to allow them to remain as self-proclaimed protectors, defenders and champions of race and religion,” he told FMT.

He said such arguments often hinge on fear, bigotry and compulsion instead of reason, understanding and discussion.

“Racism, and the politics and policies of race and religion, remain very much alive in the Malaysia of 2017,” he said.

“This is actually happening in tandem with the increasing economic disparity experienced by all levels of society,” he added.

Azrul also said the disparity becomes more polarising when communal leaders start looking for someone to blame for their failures, misfortunes and hardships.

Azrul was commenting on an assertion by a research analyst at the Malaysia Programme in the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore that Malaysian politicians are good at producing moral panic and that is how they stay in power.

In a commentary in Singapore’s Today Online, Prashant Waikar said Malaysian politicians use events to manufacture moral panic by characterising them as threats to the country’s moral and religious fabric, especially Islam, and present themselves as the saviour.

He said these threats tend to centre on the issues of poverty, drug use, immigration and, as is currently the case in Malaysia, sexuality.

In most cases, he says, these threats are deemed to be morally repugnant precisely because they are framed as antithetical to society’s dominant culture.

mujahid

Mujahid: Politicians should not stoop so low as to manipulate the people’s religious interests.

Amanah vice-president Mujahid Yusof Rawa said Malaysian politicians are usually prone to use religion to gain voters’ sympathy as the general public easily relate to it.

The Parit Buntar MP called for politicians not to stoop so low as to manipulate the people’s religious interests.

“Religion should not be exploited. For a society such as in Malaysia which has not matured, voters can be easily influenced by what politicians say,” he said.

Barisan Nasional MP for Pasir Salak, Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, however, said Malaysia has a high tolerance level when it comes to religious issues.

Tajuddin

Malaysia has a high tolerance level when it comes to religious issues, says Tajuddin.

He said much of the national discussion would obviously centre on the concerns of the dominant race of a country.

“Most of the voters in Malaysia come largely from the Malay-Muslim community. So of course issues revolving around Islam would form the main topic for politicians to relate with in society,” Tajuddin said.

Malaysian politicians manufacture moral panics to hold power


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